Probably the Best Exercise You are NOT Doing

If you follow First Capital Gym’s social media, you’ll see we have the majority of our members swinging kettlebells.  The kettlebell swing is an excellent exercise for conditioning, fat loss, and building strength.  For the kettlebell swing to be effective, you need to first learn how to hip hinge or deadlift correctly.

The deadlift or hip hinge is a tremendous full body exercise.  Besides being a great strength builder, it can also be used to burn fat and improve posture. 

How can deadlifting burn fat?  There are many muscle groups involved in a deadlift including legs, hips, upper back, arms, and core.  2-4 sets of 6-15 repetitions of a kettlebell deadlift is going to work a lot more than your leg press and hip abduction machines.

Another huge benefit of the deadlift, when done PROPERLY, is great for your back.  World renowned spine expert Stu McGill loves the deadlift (again, when done properly) for back health.  If taught properly and done with correct volume, the deadlift is a life saver!

How should I perform the deadlift?  If you are new to fitness, we recommend patterning the hip hinge first and then progressing the kettlebell deadlift.  We start the majority of our members with the kettlebell deadlift before progressing.


Here are some quick points on the kettlebell deadlift:

  • Hinge back at the hips
  • Grip the kettlebell as hard as you can
  • Engage the lats
  • Sniff some air and brace
  • Push through the floor to get the bell off the floor
  • Finish in a strong plank position
  • Hinge back following the same points above and sit the bell down

Now, unfortunately, the deadlift has also gotten a bad reputation for being dangerous.  Like everything, anything done wrong can lead to problems.  We have found these to be the biggest culprits.

  • Hinging is not done at the hips but with flexing the back
  • Light grip
  • Lats are not engaged with shrugging of the shoulders
  • Kettlebell is not positioned at the appropriate height>> HUGE!!
  • Extending at the back on the top position
  • Improper breathing mechanics

When our members become confident with the kettlebell deadlift, we will progress them.  At First Capital Gym, we use these progressions with the kettlebell:

  • Kettlebell Deadlift
  • Double Kettlebell Deadlift
  • Double Suitcase Deadlift

Here we have Selina, who happens to be a chiropractor, showing us the first three progressions

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